Tuesday, January 24, 2012

If He Wins an Oscar®, Terrence Malick Promises an Explanation for The Tree of Life

Terrence Malick is riding high with three - count 'em - three Academy award nominations for The Tree of Life at this year's Oscars®. That's fantastic news in-and-of-itself, but what's more is the fact that if the film wins in any category it was nominated, Malick will finally record commentary and re-release The Tree of Life on DVD and Blu-ray, adding the audio track for those who care to know what volcanic ash and DNA have in common.

When GPS caught up with the auteur, he was less than enthusiastic about the concept of explaining his work.

"I get approached all the time by people wanting me to, you know, tell them what The Tree of Life is really about. You don't know how frustrating it is to have someone turn and walk away from you after describing a very real existential crisis for 25 minutes. So if we win this thing, I guess I'll go back in and put down my inner thoughts for posterity."

Sean Hurklemeyer made the mistake of asking Malick about his film one day while out on his morning jog. He can no longer find it within himself to hold a conversation for more than 2 minutes, 37 seconds.

"I don't think it's really all that hard to follow," said a somewhat-surprised Malick. "I mean, why did everything come about? Why are there galaxies floating around when perfectly good, young men are being killed? Families are torn apart daily. Water rushes through the ground, over and under the dirt, where are we? Who are we? Why? Why?"

 For some strange reason, Mike Barough thought he could get through The Tree of Life in one sitting before the 4:30 board meeting. He missed that meeting, and the last 42 minutes of the film.

When asked about situations like Mike's, Malick brushed it off.

"Not everyone has the attention span required to view something like The Tree of Life. There aren't any terrorists holding hostages or explosions going off every five minutes. I'm reminded of the story of Ingmar Bergman meeting Charles Bronson for the first time. When Bergman sat down with the action star, he said he'd always wanted to know how they got the fake guns to fire. I can identify with that feeling when I make my films. It's deep-thinking kind of stuff. It's like, when you stare at a footprint being slowly filled with water, what are you really looking at? Is something being added, or is something being taken away?"

 Lenny Riefenstahl forked over $9.50 to pay attention to the ceiling as he styled his latest beard creation. "But it only took 2 hours for me to finish it. That means there's like 19 minutes of my life somewhere that I'm just missing."

GPS couldn't confirm this with Malick himself, but one of our most dispensable interns found out through a source at Fox Searchlight that he's been "busy evolving the DVD commentary game."

"Have you ever wanted your favorite director to directly control the movie you're watching?" asked the source. "Let's say you're watching The Tree of Life on DVD. What if Malick could pause the film and explain that cloud of dust for 10 minutes? Wouldn't that be incredible? No? Oh."

For more GPS Oscar® news, check out these stories:

In Light of Oscars® Controversy, 3-way Deal Reached Between Brett Ratner, Eddie Murphy, and Academy Members

Caesar And Billy Crystal To Host 84th Annual Academy Awards

For more Terrence Malick news, GPS has you covered:

Terrence Malick Falls Asleep During Tree of Life Screening; Nobody Seems to Notice

Terrence Malick's Untitled Romantic Drama Starring Ben Affleck is Really About Orbiting Planets and Shit


  1. A friend of a friend of someone who used to live in LA but now lives in London and once worked at one of the studios in Hollywood - although I'm not sure which one - said he also asked Malick this very question at a industry dinner - what's it all about, he said. Apparently, Malick said nothing for what seemed like an eternity before pointing to a tree out the window with the words - "What is a tree if not life itself." He then got on his knees and began worshiping the "tree people" who are invisible elves only he can see who travel between dead trees tying to revive them. True Story.

  2. @Dan...you made that up. Come on board and write for us. That's quality bullshit. Color us impressed.

  3. What an enigmatic, yet healthily spiritual individual Malick is. I will repeat this story to all I come across.

  4. @Markus I will have you know my bullshit is GOLDEN

    Just putting that out there

  5. Ahaha, like Castor said, nice try Sir!

    Wow Dan, what a story! Someone needs to make a movie about a director and his tree people!! :D

  6. Haha! Absolutely hilarious. Loved the yawning and beard guy.

    That would be a very weird, pretentious and extremely boring audio commentary!

    He would probably say: "My vision was to show the dust and ash in a very specific way. This is art at its most poetic..."-Terence Malick.


  7. I hope this same policy is enforced for David Lynch, just to see him try and explain Mulholland Drive